After what seemed like an eternity spent honing his craft in the hinterlands, Evan Biddell returned at long, long last to the Toronto Fashion Week runway proper with a truly spectacular show. The two-year wait was worth it. Biddell showed a remarkably glamorous, grown-up collection reminiscent of old-school Dior chinoiserie and heady ’70s exoticism. Hazy leopard spots and lush peacock feathers oozed over slinky backless maxi-dresses, while cocktail frocks rebelled into a froth of rakishly gathered black tulle or cascading velvet folds. Attendees were able to soak in the beautiful draping and gorgeous silks over the course of the entire show, as each model came out again and again in a never-ending carousel rotation that was both surprising and startlingly touching: Rather than glance at every other look between sending bored texts to friends, people were forced to really take in a whole collection for once, and appreciate the artistry and hundreds of hours of work on display. (It’s paid off already, too: Word has it the collection was already virtually sold out prior to its runway debut.) Biddell’s fondness for breaking the rules included his showing a piece or two reminiscent of his more raver-style collections, from an evening gown (and pair of hot pants) emblazoned with his trademark cartoon print to the leather shift with the fringed cape and exposed zipper running down the front. These were, however, the much-weaker spots of the collection; they looked like the past. It’s the rest of this revelatory collection—and Biddell’s future—that we’re really excited about.
Runner-up: The stand-out mini-collections from Mercedes-Benz Start-Up National Finalists Malorie Urbanovitch and Nicole Campre, who were robbed of the title in favour of the less-successful pieces from DUY. Hats off also to Caitlin Power and Dreamboat Lucy.